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57 men arrested in Nigeria for alleged ‘homosexual activity’

57 men arrested in Nigeria for alleged ‘homosexual activity’

Nigeria man in handcuffs

Police in the Nigeria’s capital, Lagos, arrested 57 men for alleged homosexual activity.

The mass arrest happened at 2am on Sunday morning at a hotel in Lagos. State police commissioner, Imohimi Edgal confirmed the raid.

Edgal said police stormed the hotel in the early hours of the morning after a ‘reliable source’ tipped them off.

Same-sex activity is illegal in Nigeria, with stoning until death the punishment in 14 of the country’s northern states. In other parts of the country the punishment is up to 14 years in jail. LGBTI people are even denied the right to assembly, but that didn’t stop a brave group of people from protesting for their rights in Lagos this year.

Police found about 80 people in a hall at the hotel and suspected them of drinking banned substances, including marijuana.

‘When the men sighted the police, they took to their heels but the police arrested 57 of them,’ Edgal told Premium Times.

No proof of homosexuality

Some of the arrested men spoke to Premimum Times saying they had not committed any crimes.

‘I was at the reception when the police came and they told me to lie down which I gladly did since I knew I had not committed any crime. But I was accused of being a gay,’ said 23-year-old, Daniel Sokari.

‘All efforts to explain to the police and show them the evidence of my invitation to the pageantry and pictures proved abortive.’

Other arrested men said they just stumbled on the party and that they didn’t know hardly anyone at the party. They also said police did not tell the detainees their charges until they reached the police station.

‘The police just barged in and arrested people, I was outside the hall buying a drink when I was arrested,’ Wealth Olasunkanmi said.

‘They also accused us of being homosexuals, I am not one, I went there to party. They also accused us of being initiated but no initiation material was founded with us or at the venue.’

Police action against suspected gay people in Nigeria is not uncommon.

In June this year, police raided a private party and arrested about 100 suspected LGBTI people. Police barricaded the party-goers and used tear gas to disorient them. A witness told Gay Star News that police allegedly targeted ‘effeminate men and masculine women’ in the raid.